10 must dos when you camp in Canberra

Hot air balloons over Lake Burley Griffin Canberra - pic by Kate Gilmore
Hot air balloons over Lake Burley Griffin Canberra - pic by Kate Gilmore

We have visited Canberra A LOT. In fact, at least once or twice a year since the kids were little.

We camp or stay with my sister and family. As our families have grown, we have our daughter living in the Australian Capital Territory now. We find there is more to explore each time! And another bonus, most of it was FREE!

1. Australian War Memorial

Book your FREE ticket for the museum and Last Post Ceremony in advance. I can tell you now, the two hours you are allocated will not be enough to really wander through all that is on offer. You could spend days in here! 

Our whole family was intrigued learning about Australia’s role throughout conflicts. Don’t miss out on this one. We found our family’s names on the wall. Set aside time to walk past the monuments of Anzac Parade, too. Here’s a self guided walking tour you can download. 

2. Parliament House

Simply a must! It was important to us, for our kids to see where our country is governed from. So much history in here. We all loved sitting in on a session and checking out portraits of Australia’s Prime Ministers. It was even a bigger thrill to be caught up in HIS cavalcade as we drove from the Arboretum! (This was a few PMs ago, now.)

3. Questacon

Look, it is not just because I am science trained that I LOVE this place. It is so cool. I wonder if you can still freefall there? So hands-on for kids. Mind you, Heatley and I were just as impressed as the tribe! (Fees apply.)

4. National Arboretum

An awesome attraction that only opened in 2013, with planning after the devastating 2003 bushfires.

The master plan is for 100 monoculture forests of rare, threatened and symbolic trees from our country and all around the world. Dine at the cafe with the BEST views and playground.

You can drive around the different exhibits, sculptures, lookouts and picnic areas. I think my favourite (also a favourite poem) is the “wide brown land” with sensational views to Black Mountain.

5. “Seasons of mists and mellow fruitfulness…”

Autumn has to be my favourite time to visit Canberra. As a student, both placements included bussing around in the hot Canberra summer and cruel winter! But one thing Canberra does wear proudly are its seasons – something a bit rare when you are from Queensland.

6. Markets

Simply the BEST markets, and there are church or school jumble sales on, every time we visit. The fashion markets are huge, too. My sister always picks up second hand WASGIJs, books, and the fresh produce is AMAZING.

7. Multicultural Food

Dickson is a hop, skip and jump from our base – with a whole street of Asian eateries. We love the pides from Yarralumna, we happened on accidentally. Our ravenous table ate up, and you could watch them being created. I’ll also give a shout out to the Gang Gang Cafe and their delicious breakfasts. Even the fish and chips are heavenly in Canberra!

8. Lake Burley Griffin

There is nothing like a planned city for easy navigation. Not so sure about those massive roundabouts, though! My brother and I cycled all over Canberra as teens – from one attraction to the next. Give those excellent bike paths a try, or just hire a bike to cycle around the lake. Spot the monuments! Who’d like to be in one of those hot air balloons over the lake?

9. More green spaces

With beautiful parks everywhere, you can easily find a place to play cricket or badminton. Or watch live AFL or soccer matches. Climb up Mount Ainslie Nature Park or stroll through the Australian National Botanic Gardens at Black Mountain.

Currently closed for refurbishment, and standing over 195 m above Black Mountain, the Telstra Tower can’t be missed.

10 Treasure after national treasure!

See the Old Parliament House (now the Museum of Democracy), Australian Institute of Sport, National Gallery of Australia, National Museum of Australia, National Library of Australia, The National Film and Sound Archive of Australia and the National Portrait Gallery. Drive around the embassies. You can even make a coin at the Royal Australian Mint! (Fees may apply.)


Explore wineries surrounding the city, Namadgi National Park, Gibraltar Falls and Woods Reserve or Cotter Campground and Stony Creek Nature Reserve. 

Where to CAMP?

Try EPIC or the many caravan parks. Find them all in the CAMPS guides and CAMPS AUSTRALIA WIDE App.

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